Saturday, September 15, 2007


There's lots of fun and cool stuff going on in our family lately that I'd rather talk about, but for now, I've got to figure something out. Here's the deal. This past week was a recovery week. It was 37 miles, down from the previous week's (planned) 46. Side note: I didn't actually get in 46, because I substituted the Star Triathlon for Sunday's 9 mile LT run. Anyways, I was thankful for this recovery week because I needed it. The 17 mile long run that preceded it was rough on me. Here's how it went.

Sunday: General aerobic 8 miles with 8x100yd strides. I felt great during this run, and took off with Joe after about 3 miles pushing the pace down under 8:30 for most of the remaining miles, and ended up with an average pace of 8:47. And an average heart rate of 161. The strides were tough, and I went home pretty tired that night.

Monday: Recovery 5 miles. Done at work on my lunch break with Holly. It was tough. Hot and humid, and my legs were spent. I had an avg pace of 9:51 and an average HR of 159, even though it seemed like every time I glanced at my HR it was over 170. According to Pfitz, using my heart rate reserve, my heart rate was supposed to stay under 148 during this run. But I couldn't do it...I would have had to walk, and I wouldn't have made it back from my lunch break in time.

Tuesday: General aerobic 8 miles. Ouch. This one hurt, but Michele and I somehow pulled through it with a decent pace - 9:36 - and my avg HR was 157.

Wednesday: Rest. Much needed rest.

Thursday: Recovery 4 miles. I wanted to make sure I kept my heart rate down for this one. We had a big group, and Amy was running a little slower so I chose to join her and successfully kept my heart rate rate down where I wanted. Average pace: 11:20, Average HR: 141. I did swim 1500 yds afterwards.

Friday: Long Run of 12 miles. Should be easy, right? It's only 12. And this is a recovery week. Besides that, I have rested on my rest/cross training days instead of cross training. So I was expecting the "light on my feet" feeling, and figured Michele and I would knock this thing out fairly close to marathon pace. Wrong. Legs. felt. like. lead. My heart rate was way too high the entire run. It was a struggle, and I commented around mile 10 that it was having to tap into the mental toughness tank to get me through. I don't think I was dehydrated - my water intake was probably not as good as normal this week, but it was still fairly good. And we had water and Gu at mile 8.3 during the run. The temp was cool (67 degrees), although the humidity was 96%. We finished the run with a 9:30 pace and my average HR was 163. Level of perceived effort was HIGH.

I am puzzled. Why did this run hurt so bad? This 12 miler, in week 6, was worse than the one we did in week 1. Here are the two charts:

Week 1 12 miler
Avg Pace: 9:25, Avg HR: 152, Peak HR:168, Temp:79, Humidity:76%
Week 6 12 miler
Avg Pace: 9:30, Avg HR: 163, Peak HR:172, Temp:67, Humidity:96%
You can see I definitely started out slower the first time. I don't know if that is the key or not. I do know that I always do better when starting out slower. I'm just not sure if it would have made a different yesterday or not, though. Here are some possible things I am considering:

1.) Maybe I was not suppose to feel fresh during this recovery week. Maybe I will feel better next week as a result of the recovery week.

2.)Perhaps I should have started out slower.

3.)Maybe running really hard Sunday did me in for this week.

4.)Could the humidity have been a factor? Surely not, since the temp was cool.

Suggestions solicited. I'm doing my last tri for the season Sunday - the Music City Triathlon. Goal:Steady pace and not to push myself over the edge. At this point, I am not going to compromise my marathon training for a triathlon that probably doesn't even rank as a "C" race. Just going for the fun.


Lisa said...

I wouldn't think too much about this week's long run. I've come to the conclusion that we all have "up" days of training and "down" days. It may have been a combination of all the things you listed. You & Michele have been working your tails off so let it go, have fun tomorrow! I'll cheer for you from LP Field. :)
Going to be a beautiful day for a triathlon and a football game.

riddenwords said...

I'm not a runner, nor an expert on HR training but if your feeling it more than you think you should and your HR is higher than it should be, those say 'tired' and 'over training' to me. This is the first and only time I've read your blogs I don't know anything about your fitness level or training plan.

david said...

One of the things about the Pfitz plan is that the first cycle is 5 weeks long. (After doing several of Higdon's plans, that seemed rather long.) During that time you are not only building your mileage but also getting use to doing strides and lactate threshold/tempo runs. It is a lot in 5 weeks. You should feel good that you are tired as you complete the first cycle.

The other thing I have discovered about the Pfitz plan is that the recovery week, in a lot of ways, only means a lower mileage week. You still have strides.

Remember that it is the recovery week that make you stronger, not the higher mileage weeks. It when you body responds to the stress of the previous weeks during recovery that you actually get stronger. It does not mean that you will necessarily feel rested.

Don't worry about it. With the heat and humidity we have had this summer, just take each run on its own merit. And know that over the course of 18 weeks you will be prepared for race day.

Benson said...

I agree with David.
You'll likely feel the effects of your recovery week a few days, or more, later.
Heat and humidity deffinately effect HR and you'll get some drift in your bpm numbers.
Good on ya for tuffing it out but be careful not to over train and thus burn out.
U R 1 Tough Lady.

E-Speed said...

I've talked to hard core runners (100+ mpw) that say their back off weeks always feel worse than their build weeks.

Don't worry too much, I'm sure your just experiencing the same phenomenon as them.